Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rearview Mirror

As the calendar year draws to a close, we are accustomed to looking forward to the year ahead. We make resolutions and hope that the coming months will bring all we are hoping for in our lives. And of course, we believe the turn of the page can bring new and better times.

But what about the year that is ending? What did we plan for this past year? What did we hope that 2008 would bring? What resolutions did we make? Did we keep them? How are our lives different today?

Caitlin Mathews, in her book The Celtic Spirit, recommends that this is a time for a summation of the past year’s achievements and mistakes in order to have a sense of the year’s shape. It’s helpful to wind the year backward, retracing steps from December back to January. Consider the following questions:

1) What was the major theme of each month?
2) Which events made the greatest impression on my life?
3) What did I achieve?
4) What mistakes do I regret?

Then look at the year as a whole:

1) What is the overall pattern?
2) What has the year meant?
3) What seeds were sown that affect me now?
4) What wisdom have I learned?
5) What do I need to change?

This seems a fit activity for December 31st, the Eve of the New Year. My family likes to stay home on this night of revelry, safe and off the street out of the path of drunken drivers. It is a time of peaceful introspection and reexamination of our lives. And a time of joy when we are thankful for the blessings of the past year and gratitude that we are here to enjoy
the one to come.


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